"Slavery is as ancient as war, and war as human nature."
Americans, with their strong tendency to externalize the evil within them and to project it onto others, have been waging crusades to extirpate or crush one kind of evil or another for almost 200 years now. The Pelagian belief in man's natural innocence and capacity for perfection was the root of many heretical movements which swept the northern United States in the post-revolutionary period and the foundation of a host of religions from Finneyite Christianity to Transcendentalism and Mormonism, and it is still the core of the institutionalized leftism of the American academy.
The work of Eugene Genovese is a powerful rebuke to the Pelagian worldview of American historians, particularly as manifested in their treatment of the American South. Genovese is a former Marxist whose political philosophy has become more and more conservative in a Burkean sense, and who recently returned to the Catholic Church of his ancestors. He is a meticulous, thorough, insightful, and fair-minded scholar whose work on both the black and white South is among the best in his field; his early work on the Southern slave system was brilliant and continues to set the standard for the subject. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made (1974) remains required reading for those wishing to penetrate...